When you are the youngest of three siblings and you are all grown up, you will always be the youngest.
Even after twenty nine years and two children of my own, a marriage and a divorce, when we have one of those rare family reunion weekends and we are all together again I am unwittingly reverted by popular demand to being the baby sister.
In my family that is the equivalent of saying “Tag! You’re it!”
Although they have outgrown trying to come up with creative ways to do away with me and can no longer con me into eating weird and wonderful things (they still try but to lesser effect) my siblings none the less still exchange evil glances and try to pull pranks on me. I say try because I have become a little more weary in recent years and now have the good sense to ask “Why?” when my sister say’s something like “Go and sit over there next to our brother dear” Or, “here is a drink/doughnut/ anything edible, for you”
Not to mention telling our mother that anything at all that they have done was my fault.
All in all it is a gas.
Actually, it really is.
There is a natural order that you fall into with all of your siblings together. It doesn’t matter what achievements or disasters you have had, It doesn’t matter how you wear your hair these days or what size jeans you wear, these are the people who know where you are coming from better than anyone else. They know better even than your parents because they share the same parents as you do. They know you.
I am lucky enough to have siblings who understand my sense of humour. Too much, in fact, they are much funnier than I am and I can kill myself laughing with them in spite of myself. These are the people who will be in your corner even if they think it smells funny and they don’t like the colour you’ve painted it (and they will tell you so too). They are the people who love you by default. They are the ones who will always be there for you even if they live five hundred kilometres away and they think you are a total moron for all of the bad choices you have made.
Back to being the youngest though, now that they can’t really get away with holding me down and force feeding me cow pats they can still make sure that I drink far too much (even though I don’t usually drink at all). They just won’t leave you alone until you have tried there latest evil brew, homemade rum, one more for the road, oh no wait you are not driving have another. The funny thing is I think I will have a few drinks with my siblings also because they are the only people in world I really feel that I can do it with fearless of how much of an idiot I become. They know how much of an idiot I am already; we have been telling each other that since birth! However I may not call myself names, because then they will defend me, against myself. Either way they are not allowed to agree with me, by order of the laws of the universe
Now we also know that friends don’t let friends drink and dial (or text).
Siblings, however, will not only actively encourage you to pick up your phone and say stupid things to respectable people who you will have to talk to again in person someday if you are unlucky enough to ever bump into them again, but my dear darling sister has even been known to hi-jack my phone and have long text conversations with friends of mine who she has never met before. Fortunately so far I have always been able to at least get her to (eventually) let them know that they are speaking to her and not to me.
I think it’s an everlasting payback for when she was in grade eight and the little grade three me went up to the matric she had a crush on at the time and told them, helpfully I thought, “My big sister is in love with you”.
I was only trying to help! I idolised my sister and couldn’t think why anyone would not want to be with her if they thought they had a fighting chance.
I never did pull anything like that on my brother, but then he punched a lot harder than she did.
If I see either of them on their own we manage to be relatively grown up. But being all three together, with mother present, like we were this weekend, well the only thing that has really changed is that now we really want to be together. We are legally allowed to drink and there are (slightly) fewer injuries! I suspect the latter is largely due to the fact that I am the only one among us who practices a martial art and they are less inclined to try their luck (They don’t know how bad I am at it, but suspect that capoeira is slightly voodoo).
The rest is pretty much exactly the same as it ever was. And as the youngest I automatically have the least cred. My personality tends to lurk in the background and watch them do their stuff. But that’s cool. It’s easy. It’s comfortable. I like it there. I love seeing them and watching them. They are between them (since my Oupa passed on) the best story teller and funniest person(s) I know. Being the youngest also means that they both are secretly saving the last piece of chocolate or bowl of pudding for me, when they think no-one else will notice.
I hope that one day when I grow up I can be as great as them.